Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced the Department has awarded $10 million in contracts to create early intervention mental health support services in Burlington, Cape May, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.
Human Services previously initiated early intervention support services (EISS) in the state’s other 11 counties, so expanding to these additional counties means all 21 counties will now be covered by this service.
“Now, more than ever, it’s critical for individuals to have access to timely mental health care in their communities,” Commissioner Adelman said. “Assessing and treating mental health needs early on allows for better outcomes and can reduce the use of more intensive interventions, just as we see for physical health conditions. Expanding EISS into a statewide resource will help make mental health care more accessible, responsive and equitable for all residents.”
“Too many people in our communities who struggle with mental illness feel they have nowhere to turn,” said Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). “These include our military veterans, and, more and more, our young people. Research has shown that early intervention support services, when made available, can be a life-saver for those who find themselves in crisis. I commend Commissioner Adelman and her department for seeing the mental health crisis for the scourge that it is, and for being proactive in extending this program and needed resources to more parts of the state.”
The service provides community based treatment alternatives for adults with acute psychiatric symptoms, including individuals who have co-occurring conditions such as substance use disorder. The programs function as psychiatric urgent care clinics that offer adults access to crisis intervention services without having to rely on local hospital emergency departments. They provide rapid access to short term, recovery-oriented, crisis intervention services, and serve persons who are 18 years of age or older experiencing exacerbated symptoms of a mental illness.
Services can include assessment, psychiatric evaluation, pharmacologic interventions, short-term counseling and psychotherapy, psycho-education, time-limited case management, referral and linkage. Services may be offered after-hours such as on weekends, accommodate walk-ins, and offer quick access to staff with psychiatric prescriber privileges, when needed.
“The goal is for individuals participating in these programs to be less inclined to default to emergency room based services during future crisis episodes,” said Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who directs Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “These programs will also help educate the local community regarding this treatment option and its availability. We all benefit when individuals with acute psychiatric symptoms get the early intervention supports they need.”
Under the program, the contract awardees will continually assess and utilize demographic data of participants’ in the county area in the development and delivery of programming, evaluation, and program outcomes to ensure it is relevant to the population served.
Additionally, the awardees will analyze data to implement strategies to increase program participation.
The contracts were awarded to:
- Burlington County – Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton;
- Cape May and Gloucester counties – Acenda;
- Passaic County – Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare;
- Salem County – Healthcare Commons;
- Sussex County – Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris;
- Union County – Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services;
- Warren County – Prime Healthcare Services – St. Clare’s; and
- Hunterdon and Somerset counties – Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, of Rutgers University.